is the Universe just right for life?
and.... Are we Alone?
FEBRUARY 18th 2008
I hope Paul Davies will not mind me taking the title of his latest
as the title of this file and indeed of the subject here to be
discussed. It is a very apt expression and he has chosen it to describe
an issue which has puzzled a great many people. It could have a further
subtitle: "Why is the planet Earth so exaclty right for advanced,
intelligent life, protected and and advantaged by a number of
extraordinary apparent coincidences?" *[Now no longer his latest book. We have The Eerie Silence which, I gather
from the review, deals with a lot of what I rabbit on about here. We
are increasingly indebted to Prof Davies. See entries below in March
It is an enigma that I have studied myself to over many years, come to
a conclusion, and been waiting for the moment when it seemed that the
general public might be ready for the solution. For indeed there is
one, and it opens the door to a very wide future. But until a
number of people have understood the question properly there has been
little hope of them appreciating the answer. The current problems we
are facing in politics, economics, religion and planetary management
mean that the time has come.
Davies himself has been working towards it over the years but even in
The Goldilocks Enigma, which I admit I have not yet read a single word
am told he has not yet rung the required bells or even committed
himself to a clear explanation. Davies has approached the problem from
a mathematical and cosmological perspective, using what we have learned
in the realms of physics, chemistry and mathematics. This concentrates
on extraordinary apparent coincidences in the laws of physics that make
the life-supporting material universe, never mind our planet, possible.
Others have taken the extraodinary properties of Earth as the equal or
greater mystery. Yet others have used the Darwinian evolutionary
to argue that life 'not-necessarily-as-we-know-it' is not so
Yet others mix religion and science in a theory of 'Intelligent Design'.
The purpose of this file is to try to
get over a perfectly rational explanation that satisfies science and
philosophy and most people (excluding religious fundamentalists who are
committed to a set of doctrines), while not accepting any of the
currently proposed solutions, even though I shall use the evidence and
many of the arguments and reasoning within the unsatisfactory theories
that compete for general acceptance.
Before we start, you may need a few references.
A commentary on Paul Davies' book
The "Rare Earth Hypothesis"
The "Anthropic Principle" - with important variants
Regression toward the mean
I am not going to start this exposition with a discussion of the
universe as a whole, we can come back to that later. I am going to
start with the planet Earth as recently made the subject of the
excellent TV series Earth: The Power of the
Planet, by Dr Iain Stewart. He finished the series with a hint
that he was drawn towards the Rare Earth Theory.
earth suitable for intelligent
human life are so many and so precise that he found the chances of them
all happening frequently even in a universe of 100 billion galaxies,
each with 100 billion stars, to be so unlikely that there might be only
one such planet in a galaxy or even in all galaxies.
I aim to show that the most reasonable theory is what I shall call the
"Not quite so Rare Earth Theory". It is based on the probability that
all the particular propertiesof our planet are related in origin, in
such a way that instead of the odds against them all occuring together
being higher the greater they are in number, the reverse is true as
they are sequentially brought into being. I formulated
'Not-Quite-So-Rare-Earth Theory' in the 1980s based on studies I made
from 1946 onward. All scientific observations since and the writngs of
other scientists have strengthened my feeling that it is valid. The discovery in the '70s of the science
of fractals and my personal late understanding of the geometric origins
of the fibonnaci sequence and other mathematical self-ordering
properties of nature have added to the rationality of this
approach.(this italic section added later).
CONTINUED FEBRUARY 19th 2008
To make this explanation as simple as possible, I am going to start by
taking just three characteristics of Planet Earth that are agreed to
be:essential for life as we know it to have developed and continue to
1. A suitable gravitational value, "g" as we know it, depending (once
the material mix is set, on the exact size of a planet)
2. A suitable core and surface.
3. A suitable orbit and distance from a single 'sun' in the local
4. A moon of suitable mass and proximity
I will maintain that the material that collects in any 3 above, round a
sun of our type, will have a 2
that will correspond and a 1
that is not
accidental. Following that, I shall maintain that the final assembly
from two proto-planets rather than a single protoplanet that slowly
picks up all the nearby debris, is not an accident but a reaonable
probability. The outcome of that final assembly is quite
likely to result in the fragments thrown out to collect in a moon that
various forces will drive autmatically to the appropriate distance.
None of the above is inevitable, but neither is it in any way an
improbable accident. Furthermore, the effect of compatible results in
any stage causes subsequent stages to become more and more likely and
ever more precise. At any inter mediate stage however a catastrophic
failure may occur. I which case it will be elsewhere, in another solar
system, that a suitable planet has to be sought. There are recent suggestions that in the
formation of the planetary arrangement in our solar system that the
biger planets were once much nearer the sun, and that when their orbits
interfered gravitationaly as they were bound to do there was a
catastrophic rearrangement, leaving earth where it now is as the
recipeint of huge quantities of water form comets sent hurtling from
the Oort Cloud as smaller planet were sent crashing through it. I have
no problem with that as a possibility, it in no way alters the
progression of probablity even though it elaborates it.(this italic
section added later)
The overall result will be that once a solar system starts in exactly
the same way ours did, the outcome can be described by a well known
way we would apply that word in other
matters, but has to be viewed in the context of the huge number of
The conclusion will be that since suns exaclty like our own are not
extraordinarily improbable, and since our galaxy and the universe are
extremely large, a planet like our Earth is not extraodinarily rare and
a planet on the way to becoming an 'earth equivalent' is more and more
likely to complete the process once started, rather than less and less
likely to pile accident on accident as even the estimable Dr Iain
Stewart has suggested
There is much more to be discussed after than and we can, if I have
time, go back to the Big Bang and the abstract principles of geometry
that are beyond even the physics of material existence. Those who wan't
the entire explanation of the Goldilocks Enigma will have to wait for
that. But by understanding the solving of the enigma for Planet Earth
they will have the key to part of the solution as it applies to the
Universe. The other part is linked to the nature of space-time. There
are indeed such things as we call mathematically
random events. But there are also typical events and such
considerations as dynamic symmetry and multi-dimensional compatibility.
The enterprise is ultimate.
TO BE CONTINUED....
FEBRUARY 21st 2008
I really hate to be rushed, but I like to stay just a bit ahead of what
the self-styled experts are prepared to commit themselves to in public,
as the results of their peer-reviewed experiments and observations lead
them to admit what I believe can be deduced without getting out of bed.
This morning we had a better than usual discussion on Melvyn Bragg's IN
OUR TIME on the Universe/Multiverse
proposals, a discussion which came nearer to the facts than previously,
admitting that in a multidimensions universe there is no need for many
universes in space, or sequentially many 'bouncing' ones in our
perceived time dimension, for nature to explore al the possible
universes which are pointless because not only unconscious but
internally incompatible. The term 'observable' universe is however
still used when 90% of the universe is not observed except by the
effect of its mass on the part we can observe - I do wish that was made
clear in all hese discussions.
LEADING EDGE (BBC Radio 4) this evening a report from the
2008 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
revealed that one Michael Meyer
has been tracing the evolution of rocky planets around other stars in
our galaxy. New evidence suggests that rocky planets like Earth may be
far more common that has been thought up to now. I once attended a
meeting of this August association in New Orleans at the end of the
1980s to address an audience on the extension of early Interet access
to the Soviet Union and on that occasion met briefly with Tippet and
Barrow (of Weak Anthropic Principle fame) round the bar. I put to them
the proposition that Michael Meyer has now apparently collected the
required observations to verify: my prediction that the likelyhood of
any star like our sun having rocky inner plantes like earth was better
than 50/50. My friends will know that a favourite expression of mine is
'It takes 25 years to get someone to prove the obvious, but it may get
quicker'. Ths time it took just under 20 years. But I just wish I had
typed all this yesterday before the broadcasts, as that would support
another theory of mine....
I have to go and do something else now but I will just add (before
someone claims to be the first to have discovered) it that given a sun
just our size it is slighlly more lkely than not that the mass of dust
that collects in the orbit spanning the ecosphere will be such as to
give a combined mass equal to that of our earth and
moon. Furthermore it will be mathematically rather more likely than not
that the final assembly will be of two large lumps, as I stated two
days ago, giving rise to a moon that from the earth-like planet will
have an apparent size similar to the sun. If that happens to be the
case, the core will then be be iron and of the right mass to produce a
magnetic field to protect the planet from radiation and so-called
'particles' which would make life as we know it impossible. It will go
through phases like our planet, including the extinction of life
due to meteorites, asteroids and comtes and the seeding of life (which
will be of both terrestrial influence). Every planet will be different,
just trees are different, but life will evolve due to the same typical
There is much more to be said but that will do for now, I can't sit
here and write a thousand pages and you would not read them if I did,
The only pupose of writing this is to prevent your being conned by
people pretending to have discovered anything new which wasn't obvious
from studying the properties of basic geometry. It may be new to them
but that's as far as the newness goes. The so called 'coupling
constants' that scientists can't explain are self explanatory, but I
will get to that later.
FEBRUARY 22nd 2008
Time to add today that once we have a planet with a core like Earth's,
and a gravitation field of earth's strength, and a moon that a
combination of forces will place at the distance our moon is, all of
which have not been accidents but probabilities, then the typical
processes will follow, but the variations will be just as interesting
as the commonalities. No other earthlike planet will have a history
exactly like ours any more than any two children have a similarl life,
growth, adulthood, achievements. The successes and failures will be
different. There will be many ways of exploring life, and so they will
all be explored. At the planetary level, the Goldilocks Enigma is
already nearly solved. It is clear that we are not looking at
'accidents' but a sequence of statisical probabilities in which the
materials, the dust and gas that forms the accretion disc, has within
itself when of a certain size, a size quite likely to be achieved
through regression to the mean, the physical and chemical properties to
form a life-supporting system, and its own assembly mechanisms based on
those physical and chemical properties. The Fibonacci sequence and the
Golden Ratio (discussed in the MATHEMATICS file on the
website) are self-creating and along with obvious symmetries and the
laws of thermodynamics and gravity are bound to harmonise the physical
and chemical outcomes. We do not have to choose between accidental on
the one hand and designed on the other. To find out the likelyhood of
life as we know it on other planets, we need only to estimate the
number of suns very like ours, in similar condtions, and divide by 2 to
get the number of earth-like planets. It is unlikely to be much more,
it could be a lot less, but it is still going to be a big number. SEE
ENTRY OF DEC 1st 2010 !!!!!!!
Next, we must look at the basic philosophical tenets of geometry and
see if our universe has a similar self-assembling charcteristic to
produce the 'coupling constants' that make the universe we observe
possible. We shall find that pure reason will lead us first to a
multitude of space-times or an endless rebirth of bouncing space-times,
and then away from both of these, using the principle of Occam's Razor,
to a multidimensional universe with a conservation of information - it
could be called a multiverse - that is perpetually self-refining and
regenerating on a scale that is without end or beginning.
One year later.....
FEBRUARY 16th 2009
Here is a report that makes sense. Bear in mind that the 'billions of
Earths will not all be 'just right' like Baby Bear's porridge (or
porage). But the likelyhood of some of them having the same constituent
materials, and a moon like ours, seas and tides, is very likely in a
small number because, as I have tried to explain above, one result
makes another more likely all along the chain of events, even if each
is far from inevitable and can break the chain that would lead to life
as we know it here generating spontaneously and leading to intelligent
'billions of Earths'
There could be one hundred
billion Earth-like planets in our
galaxy, a US conference has heard.
Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie
Institution of Science said many of
these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms.
He was speaking at the annual
meeting of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.
So far, telescopes have been
able to detect just over 300 planets
outside our Solar System.
Very few of these would be capable of supporting life, however. Most
are gas giants like our Jupiter, and many orbit so close to their
parent stars that any microbes would have to survive roasting
But, based on the limited numbers of planets found so
far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one
This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable
of supporting life.
"Not only are they probably habitable but they probably are also
to be inhabited," Dr Boss told BBC News. "But I think that most likely
the nearby 'Earths' are going to be inhabited with things which are
perhaps more common to what Earth was like three or four billion years
ago." That means bacterial lifeforms.
Dr Boss estimates that Nasa's Kepler mission, due for
launch in March, should begin finding some of these Earth-like planets
within the next few years.
Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify
how many intelligent civilisations might be out there. The research
suggested there could be thousands of them.
But remember, without a moon
very like our own in relative size and distance, intelligent life is
extremely unlikely on any planet. It needs not just seas, tides and
plate tectonics but a stable axis which such a moon also provides
throught its gravitational interaction. These things do not arrive
together randomly. If there is one, more are likely. If two, three are
almost certain. If three, 4 inevitable if the distance from the sun is
right and as we have seen, this argument tends to become circular.
It will not be too long, I hope, before the Goldilocks Enigma will be
seen not as a puzzle or a paradox but the amazing mechanism that
ensures that far from being a random development without meaning, life
and intelligent life emerge where, when and how it is appropriate. In
other words, we are in with a chance. We can, by definition, make it
through, simply because we have come this far already! We could also,
here on Earth, in this attempt at a global civilzation, fail.
JANUARY 25th 2010
I must aplogise for being taken away from getting on with this file. I
have had a lot to do and think about. I just want to discuss some
recent comments by Martin Rees, the estimable Astronomer Royal. I have
some issues with them.
Astronomers hopeful of alien find
correspondent, BBC News
The chance of discovering
life on other worlds is greater than ever, according to Britain's
Lord Rees, the president of the
Royal Society and Astronomer Royal,
said such a discovery would be a moment which would change humanity.
It would change our view of
ourselves and our place in the cosmos, he said.
His comments come as scientists
gather in London for an international
conference to discuss the prospect of discovering extra-terrestrial
been scanning the skies for radio broadcasts from intelligent life for
50 years, and so far they have only heard static.
But the chances of discovering life now were better than ever, Lord
“ I suspect
there could be life and intelligence out there in forms that we can't
Lord Rees, Royal Society president
He said: "Technology has advanced so that for the very first time we
can actually have the realistic hope of detecting planets no bigger
than the earth orbiting other stars.
"(We'll be able to learn) whether they have continents and oceans,
learning what type of atmosphere they have.
"Although it is a long shot to be able to learn more about any life
them, then it's tremendous progress to be able to get some sort of
image of another planet, rather like the earth orbiting another star."
The recent deployment of space telescopes capable of
detecting earth-like planets around distant stars now make it possible
to focus the search.
"Were we to find life, even the simplest life,
elsewhere that would clearly be one of the great discoveries of the
"I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms
that we can't conceive.
"And there could, of course, be forms of intelligence beyond human
capacity, beyond as much as we are beyond a chimpanzee," he added.
Not reported in this transcript was what I heard him say on the radio -
that we could know if we were alone in the universe, or not.
Certainly I agree that if we do detect intelligent life beyond our
solar system it could change the views of some people of ourselves and
our place in the cosmos. For others it may make little or no
difference, either because they are not surprised or because they do
not care either way. However there are some very important factors the
Astronomer Royal ignores in his statement.
Our local galaxy, which we call the Milky Way, is 100,000 light-years
in diameter. There are about 200,000,000,000 stars.There could be
thousands of earth-like planets at the same stage as earth, with
technology at the same level. We will never know by observing them
unless they reached this stage more than 1,000 years ago unless they
are very close to us - that is to say less than 1,000 light years or
one hundredth of the galactic diameter. I mention this because Lord
Rees said we could soon know if we
were alone, or not alone, in the universe. While it is true that
we might detect evidence of other intelligent life, it can never answer
this question unless we find evidence of intelligent life on a very
When we receive a signal that is clearly indicative of intelligent
life, it will only be from a very close neighbour and even then will
not reveal that the sender's civilisation has not ceased to exist. So
it may tell us we are not alone as a phenomenon, but we are still
completely alone in the sense that most people would nderstand that
word. If we were to reply to a message, it might be received 2,000
years after it had been sent. They might have difficulty locating the
question to which we supplied the answer! This is for very close stars
as a proportion of the stars in our galaxy. As for all the hundreds of
millions of other galaxies, it is not through telescopes of any sort
that we know that we can learn about intelligent signals or life. So we
can never prove the non-existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
Bear in mind that though the duration so far of humanity on earth is
but a tiny fraction of the time the planet has existed, it has taken
3.8 of the 4.5 billion years to get to homo sapiens sapiens on a planet
perfectly suited (in hindsight) to the evolutionary process. Note also
that the earth is as more than a quarter of the age of the universe.
Both these fact are mportant in an understanding of the limitations I
have suggested on observations in the coming decades of answering any
questions unless we get positive evidence of extra-terrestrail life.
Not observing it tells us merely it is not extremely dense
in its distribution or has emerged in a very much shorter time than it
So what follows? Well, this: if we do detect actual signals from
intelligent life, then the whole universe is likely to be crammeed full
of it. It would mean all other functions of the universe are trivial
compared to its intelligent life.
But if we detect nothing, that tells us nothing much at all.
Intelligent life could be coming and going all over the place, in
ourgalaxy and many othere. It could still be the highest and most
important function of the universe, but once again we cannot tell from
the observations Martin Rees is talking about. We can on the other hand
do quite a lot to assess the probability of the number of planets where
life could become intelligent and could now, previously or later exist.
That is very useful and significant.
On the other hand, we may be able to answer all these questions in
other ways, because we humans are intelligent - some more than others
and with different types of intelligence - and together we form a
super-intelligence much greater than that of any one man or woman.
I hope I will get around to explaining this before I pop my clogs. The
difficulty is in finding the right words so that I am understood.
MARCH 20th 2010
Once again I must asked readers to excuse my idleness. I have just
discovered Paul Davies has come out with another book which covers
things we are discussing here. In addition I have just read a very
helpful review in THE TIMES. So, with apologies to Prof Davies and the
reviewer Christopher Hart and the the publishers of THE TIMES I am
going to use the review as way to integrate their excellent work with
the discussion here. This is a review of a review, if you like, but I
am going to quote the entire review and insert comments in red so as not to avoid issues.
Now here is a disappointing debate: http://seti.berkeley.edu/the-great-debate
The Great Debate - Are We Alone? -
Geoff Marcy and Dan Werthimer
Science Fiction portrays our Milky Way Galaxy as teeming with advanced
civilizations engaged in interstellar communication, commerce, and
occasionally star wars. If so, great Galactic societies anticipate
offering membership to Earth. Back in our real universe,
extraterrestrial life has proved elusive. None has been found. The
arguments for and against technological life in the Galaxy have
sharpened in recent years. Evidence abounds on Earth of the hardiness
of life even in extremely harsh environments. Other evidence suggests
the Earth may be a rare type of planet, unusually benign for life as we
know it. Evidence on both sides is mounting. Which one is right? There
can be only one answer: Either the Milky Way is teeming with
technological life or it isn't.
scientist Dan Werthimer will debate planet-hunter and skeptic, Geoff
I have to tell you that Geoff Marcy, the sceptic, makes more sense in
some parts of this debate that Dan Werthimer, who rambles on a bit. But
Marcy comes up with some really classic howlers. On the subject of
evolution he says "If evolution favoured intelligence, dinosaurs would
have become smarter, but they didn't." Taking it to the absurd he says
over time flies would master alegebra, cats would play the piano. This
reveals such a huge chasm in Marcy's understanding of evolution that I
think we can ignore his judgment on everything else - not his knowledge
of data, just his judgment. I suggest he studies the subject which is
the Evolution of Life and the Origin of Species, a subject in which
Darwin made some progress on which much more has been built, and Marcy
is not even at Darwin's level. In fact he needs to start again from
scratch in this discipline.
No, gentle reader, even the introduction to this debate which I have
pasted in above in italics is confused when it says: There can be only one amswer: Either the
Milky Way is teeming with technological life or it isn't. Our
ideas on what this means are frankly crude, as we do not have a proper
idea of the scale of events with which we are dealing. Marcy gets near
to it in some ways but falls down in others as I have shown. Werthimer
has useful things to say but gets lost in a cloud of possibilities. We
fondly think of a galaxy teeming with life as we would as we 'teem' on
this planet, eventually communicatng and even meeting in real time in
such a way that each individual human being communicates like we are
doing now at the very least, and at the other end of the scale by
seeing and touching eac other, and at all intermediate stages of
being aware on an individual level - a level of choice in what we and
who we see and hear. Given that it is quite difficult to have a
sensible debate in the House of Commons or form a view on Global
Warming amongst even educated people on Earth, imagine the problem of a
civil servant faced with data on the galaxy or even one other planetary
civilization on which to give advice on how to reply to a message from
Earth is indeed a very special planet. Marcy claims to have worked out
that if there are any planets with intelligent life and technology at
our level within 100 light-years of us they could not fail to have
found us; and we can say that this is not unreasonable. 100 light-years
is next door. However, it is a wild assumption to limit the evolution
of life in the galaxy, let alone the universe in which or galaxy is a
speck, to the fulfilment of the desire present in the brains of
individuals such as ourselves, and to the means of communication and
travel that we imagine to be the method that Nature will explore to
experience its being. Humans have a conscious experience of life both
beyond and within ourselves and to explore the wider meaning of
existence, but the assumption that the future of universal life is to
proceed on the Star Trek level only is almost certainly as mistaken as
it would be for termites to believe the future is for them to colonise
the the entire planet.
It may well be that communication bteween life forms on different
solar/stellar systems is not function favoured by chance or
necessity. It is also as well to realise that on the scale we
need to think, even if it were three dimensional which it most
decidedly is not, there is no difference between chance-and-necessity
and what some see as, and therefore call, intelligent design, for the
simple reason that existence is a fact and before the monkey in any
half-way infinite cage types Hamlet, it is no longer a monkey but a
human called William Shakespeare.
Marcy asks why it took so long to get human life. It seems clear to me
that if we had not had the age of the dinosuars and their environment
for all the millions of years that we did, humans would not have had an
appropriate planet to develop and reach this discussion on a web page.
Now that makes no sense to those who think effect always follows a
cause in a time system driven by thermodynamics. Somewhere there may
well be a planet where there were dinosaurs in a perfect environment to
produce a world for later humans but they were wiped out 50 million
yerrs earlier, and the humans that arrived had to exdploit different
assets. I am OK with that too. But as I ave endeavured to explain over
50 years the dynamical structure involves more than entropic
thermodynamics. I am glad to see Brian Greene has made some steps to
getting a grip on causal symmetry even though I have given him a bit of
criticism in my review of Fabric of the
Cosmos on Amazon UK. The philosophical truths in Shakespeare's
plays were inevitable if basic Euclidean geometric concepts of the
straight line and circle are true, as these also make the universe that
we know, and a 'Shakespeare' to frame these truths, inevitable as the
outcome of any energy, that is any existence, that emerges from
I do not think it would be a universal disaster if we fail, here on
this planet, to 'make it through'. But it sure as hell is our duty to
try. Sensible people have been pointing out for 20 years that we have
to prepare. Now, existing technology is such that we can. So let's just
go to work on it. We are obsessed with individual death but appear to
be oblivious to the only thig that matters: survival of the species and
DECEMBER 1st 2010
WASHINGTON – The universe may glitter
with far more stars than even Carl Sagan imagined when he rhapsodized
about billions upon billions. A new study suggests there are a
mind-blowing 300 sextillion of them, or three times as many as
scientists previously calculated. That is a 3 followed by 23 zeros. Or
3 trillion times 100 billion.
In SOTA (1985) I proposed that Earth's relationship to the universe
should be perceived as that of a single cell to the human body. Now
read the article at the link above. No matter how many, a proper
understanding of the space-time continum leads to the conclusion that
planets within a few thousand light light years are more likely to be
seen to be at a stage suitable for life as we know it than those
further away That is because the information we receive from far away
will be from a universe at an earlier stage of evolution, greater
energy levels and a more intermittently life-destructive environment.
DECEMBER 6th 2011
One year has passed and we have some significant news.
lies at a distance from its sun about 15% less than the distance
from the Earth to the Sun, and its year takes about 290 days. However,
its sun puts out about 25% less light, keeping the planet at its balmy
temperature that would support the existence of liquid water.
may be approaching when we can start to gather some statistics. If
these statistics reveal that stars not unlike our sun are not highly
unlikely to have planets of a size not unlike earth at a distance that
could give a water-sustaining temperature, we can then start to explore
the likelyhood of them being made of similar materials. If there is a
trend beyond chance that these values are interrelated, and that such a
planet is likely to have an atmosphere, magnetosphere, ionosphere etc.
then we will be on the way to confirming what I believe is
mathematically self-evident: that basic geometric principles, given the
creation of a dimensional pluraility and a primal energy, will result
in life-as-we-know-it-Jim and all that will lead to through all the
twists and turns of evolution. There is nothing accidental about life,
or its variety, but neither is it predestined other than as an
inevitability somewhere, sometime, somehow and therefore OFTEN. If you
understand the concept of a space-time contiuuum you will see that
DECEMBER 6th 2011
A year has passed since my last entry. Last night I watched a programme
on the subject of this file on BBC 4 TV:
Search for Life: The Drake Equation
I was rather dreading it, fearing it would be stuck in some classic
pitfalls. But no! It started by pretending to fall into them but then
dug itself out in style. An excellent job. At the end Prof Drake
himself and the presenter ran through the reasons why it was not
surprising that even if the universe was teeming with intelligent life
it was not surprising we had not yet picked up any signals here at this
time from the directions we had pinpointed. However there is one more
reason which they did not cover and which I have tried to hint at in
the many entries above. I hope to deal with that further this week.
Before that I must just make a remark on the unfortunate habit of
commentators and presenters of astronomy of using the words Galaxy and
Universe as if they were comparable or even the same. On any human
pictorially representational scale, our galaxy in the universe is less
than a pin-point and, as I have made clear elsewhere, the universe is